Who is André Rieu? All you need to know about the famous Dutch violinist and conductor
The 'King of Waltz' is best known for founding the multiple-platinum selling Johann Strauss Orchestra
Who is André Rieu?
Known as the ‘King of Waltz’, André Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor, best known for creating the Johann Strauss Orchestra. The 60-piece ensemble performs popular classical and crossover works, with an emphasis on waltzes, often featuring elaborate sets and costumes. Rieu and his orchestra have toured throughout Europe, North and South America, Japan and Australia, and have released multiple platinum-selling albums and DVDs.
When and where was André Rieu born?
Rieu was born on 1 October 1949 in Maastricht, the Netherlands, the third of six children. His father, Andries Antonie Rieu, was the conductor of the Maastricht Symphony Orchestra.
When did he first learn to play the violin?
Rieu began studying violin at the age of five. He went on attend the Conservatoire Royal in Liège and at the Conservatorium Maastricht. From 1974 to 1977, he attended the Music Academy in Brussels, studying with André Gertier.
Where does André Rieu live?
When not touring the world with his Johann Strauss Orchestra, Rieu lives in his native Maastricht with his wife Marjorie Kochmann. He has two sons, Marc and Pierre.
André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra perform The Beautiful Blue Danube by Johann Strauss II
What is André Rieu most famous for?
Rieu is most famous for founding the Johann Strauss Orchestra, which he set up with just 12 members in 1987. Today the orchestra consists of up to 60 players and is known for its crowd-friendly performances of popular classics, crossover tunes and particularly waltzes, and for its extravagant costumes and sets. Its stadium tour ‘A Romantic Vienna Night’ featured a life-size replica of the imperial Schönbrunn Palace – the world’s biggest mobile stage.
‘You know that solemn atmosphere you find in the concert hall with classical music, and how it intimidates most people and keeps them away? With us, it is simply not there,’ says Rieu. ‘At one of our concerts you'll see me and the orchestra, and the audience too, all having a lot of fun together. Swaying with the music, humming along, clapping, jumping up and down - it all happens!’
What are André Rieu’s best recordings?
Rieu records both CDs and DVDs at his studios in Maastricht, including classical, pop, folk, soundtracks and musical theatre. In total, he has sold more than 40 million recordings, with numerous titles going gold and platinum in multiple territories, particularly in the Netherlands and in Australia. Popular albums have included 1994’s From Holland With Love, 1996’s The Vienna I Love, 1998’s Romantic Moments, 1999’s 100 Years of Strauss, 2004’s The Flying Dutchman, 2016’s Falling in love and 2017’s Amore.
Which violin does André Rieu play?
Rieu plays a 1732 Stradivari violin.
Charlotte Smith is the editor of BBC Music Magazine. Born in Australia, she hails from a family of musicians with whom she played chamber music from a young age. She earned a bachelor’s degree in violin performance from London's Royal College of Music, followed by a master’s in English from Cambridge University. She was editor of The Strad from 2017 until the beginning of 2022, and has also worked for Gramophone Magazine and as a freelance arts writer. In her spare time, she continues to perform as an active chamber musician.